Just in time for New Year’s resolutions, a new poster promoting smoking as a glamorous, sexy, lifestyle choice. Showing a svelte woman in a party dress, the poster for Vogue cigarettes was distributed to provincial tobacco retailers and depicts smoking as something trendy done by beautiful people, an anti-smoking coalition said yesterday.
“You can’t get more ‘lifestyle’ than the popular fashion magazine, Vogue,” said Flory Doucas of the Coalition quebecoise pour le controle du tabac.
“The ad is trying to change the perception of a deadly addictive product, branding it as socially acceptable to a segment of Quebec population,” Doucas said. “It’s clearly a cigarette for women.”
Posters went on display in retailers’ stockrooms, away from customers’ eyes, she explained.
But many people saw it given that Quebec has 7,000 tobacco retailers, Doucas said, and the poster still flouts the Tobacco Act, which forbids nearly all tobacco advertising.
Health groups -in particular, anti-tobacco organizations -have been calling for regulatory changes for a long time. “We have filed numerous complaints over the last several
quebecoise pour le controle du tabac
years,” Doucas said, regarding tobacco companies circumventing the goals of the law on promoting and selling tobacco products.
In June 2007, the Supreme Court upheld the Tobacco Act, and the validity of federal legislation restricting tobacco advertising, barring tobacco sponsorships and requiring larger warnings on cigarette packages.
The law does allow advertising in publications, direct mail and bars.
The coalition also deplored the timing of the poster and new festive tobacco packaging.
“December is a key time for new packaging. It’s also a crucial time when many smokers promise themselves they would quit,” Doucas said. “Tobacco companies are finding ways to promote their products in attractive new ways.
“If we needed a reminder that the current law needs to be strengthened … well, here it is.”
About 30 per cent of cancer deaths and 85 per cent of lung cancer deaths are caused by tobacco, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Officials at Imperial Tobacco of Canada could not be reached for comment.